image of a wagon at Washington BirthplaceSee For Yourself
Freeman Tilden loved visiting national parks such as George Washington Birthplace's reconstructed historic home-museum or the rugged backcountry of Big Bend. He created a legacy that today can be found in 390 parks. These parks offer tours in the spirit of Tilden, along with resources available to the public to enhance knowledge.

  Freeman Tilden - Father of Park Service Interpretation

For Teachers
"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." -William Arthur Ward. Learn more in Meaningful Interpreation.

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Inside Story
"there must be something else. These tangible elements did not comprise a principle; they merely revealed that somewhere else, if they could not find it, there was a soul of things- a Fifth Essence, pure, eternal, and inclusive." Freeman Tilden's Biographical Vignette

Image of Freeman Tilden

image of Freeman Tilden People
Freeman Tilden was widely revered as a teacher, mentor, and philosopher. His seminal work, Interpreting Our Heritage, discussed six principles of interpretation and is recognized as required reading for anyone pursuing a career in the field. More people...
image of a wayside exhibit Places
The National Park Service's Harper's Ferry Center creates the signs and brochures for parks. Freeman Tilden defined interpretation as: "...including illustrative media, rather than simply to communicate factual information." Wayside exhibits are an “illustrative media" that illuminate features on the landscape as "original objects" enjoyed "firsthand" by active visitors. More places...

image ofan evening park ranger program Stories
During its relatively brief history, much effort has gone into defining the nature and function of park interpretation and guiding its progress. Even while the term "education" was still being applied to interpretation, those involved with it were taking pains to distinguish it from traditional academic instruction. "Our function lies rather in the inspirational enthusiasm..." More stories...

Image of historic photos from Gettysburg
The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center offers diverses interpretive media experiences ranging from game-like challenges to in-depth database-driven resources; from large-scale passive presentations to multi-user interactives and individual stations-there is something to engage individuals and groups, young and old, experts and the uninitiated. More collections...
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image of historic item preservation Preservation
Much of what we see in park museums tell stories. Conservation of the important cultural resources of the National Park Service require expert and highly skilled specialists. At Harpers Ferry Center, conservators meticulously work to preserve and restore objects of social and cultural significance. More preservation...
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Roger Williams image
Did you know that, in 1936, the state of Massachusetts formally expunged the expulsion of Roger Williams that was passed in 1635? more...
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